Some of the country businesses I’ve worked with could still be living in the 1990s – before the advent of mobile phones and the internet. Selling products online can be daunting when you’re just starting out, but creating a simple landing page and an online shop takes a few basic steps and can be achieved for minimal cost.
I’m a small business coach working in country Victoria. I give small businesses the tools they need to make reaching their customers easier, and I show them where to start with marketing and social media. It’s not essential to have your own website. Facebook offers the chance to reach new customers through a business page, and I’ve helped several local businesses set up their Facebook profiles – they now offer their products and services Australia-wide.
At Jerusalem Creek Marina and Holiday Park, I convinced our manager to build a Facebook page and use it to keep customers up-to-date: from changes in the menu, to storm damage. Although gaining followers takes time and a steady commitment, customers started checking in with the page regularly, since Facebook enables businesses to communicate quickly and provide accurate information for free. Linking to the website from the page also brought new customers.
Elsewhere, a shoe shop wanted to reach their current customers quickly. Facebook allowed them to post photographs of their new range, which encouraged shoppers to pop in next time they were in town. Locally, I see livestock studs promoting their sales, and cafes in small towns posting opening hours and menu specials in time to reach travellers passing through the area. Tourism providers can also use social media to alert drivers to hazardous road conditions such as landslides.
There’s enormous potential for small businesses to learn how to use social media – including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and build relationships with their customers. I encourage all my clients to try it for themselves.
View Penny’s book – Double the Customers for your Country Business in 60 Days: